Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change

ISBN-10: 0674272285
ISBN-13: 9780674272286
Edition: 1982
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Description: This book contains the most sustained and serious attack on mainstream, neoclassical economics in more than forty years. Nelson and Winter focus their critique on the basic question of how firms and industries change overtime. They marshal  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 1982
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 10/15/1985
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.320

This book contains the most sustained and serious attack on mainstream, neoclassical economics in more than forty years. Nelson and Winter focus their critique on the basic question of how firms and industries change overtime. They marshal significant objections to the fundamental neoclassical assumptions of profit maximization and market equilibrium, which they find ineffective in the analysis of technological innovation and the dynamics of competition among firms. To replace these assumptions, they borrow from biology the concept of natural selection to construct a precise and detailed evolutionary theory of business behavior. They grant that films are motivated by profit and engage in search for ways of improving profits, but they do not consider them to be profit maximizing. Likewise, they emphasize the tendency for the more profitable firms to drive the less profitable ones out of business, but they do not focus their analysis on hypothetical states of industry equilibrium. The results of their new paradigm and analytical framework are impressive. Not only have they been able to develop more coherent and powerful models of competitive firm dynamics under conditions of growth and technological change, but their approach is compatible with findings in psychology and other social sciences. Finally, their work has important implications for welfare economics and for government policy toward industry.

Richard R. Nelson is George Blumenthal Professor of International and Public Affairs, Business, and Law, Emeritus, at Columbia University.

Overview and Motivation
Introduction
The Need for an Evolutionary Theory
Organization-Theoretic Foundations of Economic Evolutionary Theory
The Foundations of Contemporary Orthodoxy
Skills
Organizational Capabilities and Behavior
Textbook Economics Revisited
Static Selection Equilibrium
Firm and Industry Response to Changed Market Conditions
Growth Theory
Neoclassical Growth Theory: A Critique
An Evolutionary Model of Economic Growth
Economic Growth as a Pure Selection Process
Further Analysis of Search and Selection
Schumpeterian Competition
Dynamic Competition and Technical Progress
Forces Generating and Limiting Concentration under Schumpeterian Competition
The Schumpeterian Tradeoff Revisited
Economic Welfare and Policy
Normative Economics from an Evolutionary Perspective
The Evolution of Public Policies and the Role of Analysis
Conclusion
Retrospect and Prospect
References
Index

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